I feel like y’all know my journey because for the past four years, the SYNC community has been right there with me. On the bike enduring my singing; doing walkouts in TRX, or being badasses in goddess or warrior two on the mat. But before I get into the real turning point for me, here’s a little back story.
In high school, I was in modern dance and theater. It wasn’t uncommon to be in dance class for 2 hours a day at an arts school. My parents didn’t really do fast food so poor eating wasn’t the issue, I was just chubbier than everyone I was around. When you’re surrounded by lean dancers but you still look like you only have cookies for all 3 meals, you start to feel some kinda way. I continued to dance throughout college and on a huge campus like UNC, I walked everywhere. I didn’t consider any of this real exercise. I would occasionally show my face in the SRC but not enough to make a habit of it. I didn’t fully grasp how eating, and sometimes in my case, not eating, played into my physique. I just knew that I wasn’t built like everyone else despite what I thought I was doing right. Fast forward to my first desk job out of school.
2007 – This was the first time I actually put on noticeable weight – to the tune of 30 lbs. I wasn’t dancing or walking around campus everyday. I occasionally did Turbo Jam in my living room but that would frequently end with me just sitting on my couch because I didn’t have the proper equipment. Imagine trying to do toning exercises with frozen chicken. Yeah, it was for the birds. I didn’t know how to actually lose weight in a healthy way. In a panic, I asked my closest friend, who was also a former personal trainer, what do to. We started working out together and doing Weight Watchers. This was my first taste of how having a support system, someone who was doing the same thing, and working with you, helped with results. I lost 20 lbs in 4 months. While I was pleased with my results, I still didn’t know how to do the work on my own. This became super clear when my friend and workout buddy moved and I lost my job. To say working out was the last thing on my mind was an understatement.
Who was I if I wasn’t working? How did I keep a healthy life without my buddy in toe? What was I to do when everyone else around me was off being awesome and I was in the middle of an SVU/resume-sending marathon? I didn’t know these answers but what I did know was that moon pies were delicious and made me feeling better about the job hunt. I justified my eating by saying if I walked to pick up the pizza it would be fine or that because it was Subway it was healthy. Eat fresh, right? The weight I worked so hard to lose and keep off came back and I hid from it. A wardrobe of over-sized cardigans and empire waist dresses filled my closet, as I continued to struggle during this phase of “lost me, gained pounds.”
Fast forward to 2009 – I started SYNC and I. Went. HAM! All the classes. All the bootcamps. Marveled at the instructors power and their commitment. For the first time I started to like working out. I even woke up at the crack of dawn to get it in. I may have been late but at that stage of the game 45 mins was better than zero. I grew to love this community. I drank the SYNC kool-aid and didn’t look back. I saw our instructors lead us on our journey every time we got on our mat or our bike but what I felt this nagging need to give back to those that pushed me to my limits. I wanted to guide those and show that we were/ are in it together. Every right knee up, every travel. So I became an instructor in January 2013. That’s when I decided to really start paying attention to what I was doing. How I was treating my body. How was I going to lead if I couldn’t follow my own plan?
I took a good hard look at my body and I saw this:
When did this even happen? 178? May 2013. I decided to make changes and not just a diet, a quick fix, but a change to my life. What I had been reading finally wanted to stick. This wasn’t a vanity project, it wasn’t because I needed to look like other dancers/friends/fitspo models. It wasn’t because I was shocked at my pant size (I wasn’t), this change was rooted in my future. Game on.
What made this time different? It wasn’t about anyone else. I was getting older and I knew I had to start taking care of myself for the long haul. So I took it one day at a time. Planned meals. Forgave myself for days that didn’t go as I wanted. Went to class and took rest days. Started being honest on MyFitnessPal and made realistic goals. I didn’t look at what I wanted my final to be but look at what I could do for the day/week/month. Celebrated my small victories and pushed myself to the next level.
The biggest lesson learned – be kind to yourself! Before last year, I only saw the failures in my pant size. Now I see the beauty in my journey. Most importantly though, it is a process full of baby steps and large leaps. Once I decided I wasn’t racing to a finish line, I knew I finally understood what the goals really were and how to reach them slowly but surely.
So here I am a year later and a month away from my 30th birthday, not just a SYNCCYCLING instructor but a personal trainer. If you would’ve asked me if I saw myself as a trainer 5 years ago, I would’ve laughed, showed you by pants size, and let that be my answer. I became a trainer because I saw an opportunity to give back to this awesome community. I became a trainer because it wasn’t my pants size that mattered but the heart that I put into each class. I’m walking right there with you on this wellness ride! Shouting a “You’ve Got This!” for every sprint, push-up, and frowny face.
My journey started years ago but my renewed commitment started last year and continues to be strong. When you’re in class thinking that I woke up like this (#flawless), just remember I’m still in class beside you, singing at the top of my lungs and doing walkouts this time with jazz hands because it’s more fun that way. We’ve all got this!